Science shows that delight – whether it’s laughing out loud or exclaiming at something that’s caught our favorable attention – releases feel-good endorphins.
I am testimony to that. As written before, this #YearbytheWater adventure is half-plan, half-partner.
There are days and weeks when I need to be some place in particular at a certain time.
The last couple weeks, that would have been Washington DC for the White House United State of Women Summit and NYC to speak for Women in Consumer Technology.
Next month that includes being in Houston with my son Tom, his lovely in every way wife Patty, and my growing-by-the-minute grandson Mateo; then back to NYC for an event at the United Nations.
The rest of the time, I get to make it up as I go, parntering with what wants to happen, in search of delight.
Since I’m driving from the East Coast to Houston, I checked out route options. Hmm. I’ve heard about the The Omni Homestead Resort and its healing hot springs but I’ve never been there.
Sounds intriguing. Let’s go.
So, yesterday, I’m driving through the #AlleghenyMountains, come around a corner and BOOM, there’s this waterfall.
I drive a little further, come around another corner and THERE is the Homestead, America’s first resort, home of the first indoor pool in the country, in all its glory.
I’ve lucked out. In addition to all its normal activities – horseback riding, golf, tennis, etc. – theyre celebrating their 250th (!) anniversary so there are FIREWORKS, set against the backdrop of the towering mountains.
But what catches my eye is AQUA YOGA … which is why you would have found me at the spa this morning. I tried to Herbal Coccoon and the Caribbean Storm "Experimental Shower." I'll take a drenched Ryan Gosling in "The Notebook," thank you very much.
Then it was time for our aqua youga class. Our teacher Teri welcomed us and explained that “yoga” is a Sanskrit word meaning “to unify” and that the focus of our session would be to unify our minds, bodies and spirits with nature.
Our first step (so to speak) was to do a walking meditation on the River Walk - or Reflexology Walk as it’s more accurately named.
Our small group of five moved slowly over the stones, feeling them with our feet as they woke up related parts of our body. Hello pancreas. Hello liver, kidney and heart.
The hydrotherapy we’re doing is based on the work of Father Sebastian Kneipp, an Austrian monk, who was one of the first to teach that the application of pressure on certain foot points relieves tension and improves circulation in corresponding glands and organs.
All I know is that this watery foot massage feels good, once you welcome the pressure instead of perceiving it as ouch, ouch, ouch.
Next, we slowly immersed ourselves in Octagon Spring, with its soothing, restorative, 96 degree water naturally infused with carbon dioxide and minerals of calcium, magnesium and potassium.
Teri led us though gentle yoga poses – half moon, warrior, side plank, boat, tree, Our movements flowed easily, thanks to the buoyancy of the water.
I marveled that I’m “land-locked,” nowhere near an ocean, yet my day has been filled with water in its many forms - waterfalls, hot springs ,cascading streams, river walks, aqua yoga.
Teri keeps us present by asking each of us how the water FEELS.
I tell her that whenever I’m in water, all’s right with my world. I appreciate how the water embraces me, supports me, buoys me. We welcome this temporary cessation of gravity and revel in our freedom and fluidity of movement. We all agree it’s an exquisitely sensual, sensory experience.
We end with Shavasana. Each of float effortlessly on the water, completely relaxed and at peace with ourselves and our surroundings. What a blessed way to start the day.
When we're in water, we are literally and figuratively in our element.
Why? Becaue we're made of water. We're not only connecting with nature; we're returning to our nature. We're coming home.
How about you?
It’s summer. Even if you’re land-locked, could you get yourself to a pool, lake, river or ocean sometime soon?
Could you gift yourself with a temporary escape from stress, tension and demands and get YOUR body in a body of water?
Could you unify your body, mind and spirit with the water, iimmerse yourself in it, move your limbs through it, float on it?
I'd love to hear your water stories. What it means to you and why.